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World News

Police recover 12-year-old Christian girl five months after abduction

Authorities in Pakistan have rescued a Christian girl five months after she was kidnapped. Farah Shaheen, 12, was abducted by a middle-aged man back in June, according to human rights groups. Shaheen had marks of abuse on her body and was taken to a shelter home on the order of the local courts.

Shaheen's parents said that their daughter was abducted from the family home on 25th June. The parents said that following the kidnapping, Shaheen was forcefully married to her captor, Khizar Ahmad Ali, and converted to Islam.

In comments made to The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), local activist Lala Robin Daniel said: "Officials first brought [Shaheen] to the police station after negotiations with the criminals. Her ankles and feet were wounded. They were bandaged at the police station. She was in trauma and couldn’t talk about the torture.”

Daniel added that underage girls from religious minorities "are unsafe due to faulty and incomplete lawmaking".

"Police, judiciary, and weak laws make fun of poor parents," she said. 

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered an investigation into reports of forced conversions of women and girls from the country’s religious minority communities following an international outcry.

According to a 2014 study by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace Pakistan, approximately 1000 Christian and Hindu women are abducted, forcefully married and forcefully converted every year. 

In August, Lahore's High Court ordered that a 14-year-old girl who was abducted by a Muslim man must stay with him and be a "good wife". Supporters of Maira Shahbaz have been calling on the British government to grant asylum to the stricken girl after she fled her captor and went into hiding. 

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